Policy Paper

Sewage Sludge as feedstock for pyrolysis and gasification materials (CMC14)

Turning sewage sludge into biochar can ensure the production of a safe fertilising product by reducing and eliminating organic contaminants. Pyrolysis technology with advanced and clearly defined parameters has the potential to not just lower wastewater treatment costs but also to produce a phosphorus-rich fertilising product, reduce GHG emissions, and sequester carbon in a stable form in biochar.
However, despite the benefits, sewage sludge biochar use in agriculture is not allowed under the EU legislation.

This position paper, authored by the EBI Working Group on Sewage Sludge Pyrolysis, proposes the inclusion of Biochar produced from sewage sludge into the scope of the EU Fertilising Products Regulation (FPR) 2019/1009.
At the heart of the discussion lies the concerns raised by the EU Joint Research Centre (JRC) regarding the safety and environmental impact of sewage sludge biochar.
The paper systematically addresses these concerns, focusing on the efficacy of pyrolysis technology in mitigating pollutant content in sewage sludge, during biochar production.
Moreover, it sheds light on the agricultural benefits and the existing regulatory landscape within EU Member States, alongside the current advancements in pyrolysis technology.
A significant portion of sewage sludge ends up in landfills nowadays, with pyrolysis emerging as a sustainable solution.
The working group has also provided suggestions for policymakers on the requirements for the inclusion of sewage sludge pyrolysis under the FPR.
The paper aims to showcase compliance with Article 42 of the EU Fertilising Products Regulation, which allows the inclusion of new fertilising products or input materials that fit the bill in terms of trade significance, agronomic efficiency, and safety for humans, animals, and the environment.
In this context, the paper provides scientific and commercial evidence for the ongoing EU technical study on new materials for the FPR to consider the inclusion of biochar derived from sewage sludge.
In essence, this paper underscores the importance of aligning regulatory frameworks with technological advancements to unlock the potential of sewage sludge as a biochar feedstock for sustainable agriculture.
Through evidence-based advocacy, the EBI Working Group aims to pave the way for a more sustainable and resource-efficient approach to wastewater management, fostering a circular economy where waste becomes a valuable input for agricultural productivity.
Discover how pyrolysis technology can mitigate pollutants and transform wastewater treatment into a resource.
Download the paper HERE.